Selangor to answer to special Pakatan committee on water deal, says Anwar


(MM) – Selangor will be required to consult a special committee formed by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to ensure that the newly-minted water deal with Putrajaya benefits the administration and Selangor folks, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today.

The opposition leader added that the committee will included one representative each from the opposition pact’s three parties: PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli, DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua, and PAS Research Centre executive director Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.

Prominent lawyer Tommy Thomas will also made a member of the committee, as an independent representative of Selangor folks and to ensure the legal robustness of the deal.

“They will be responsible to cooperate with the Selangor government in the implementation of the water industry restructuring exercise, including reviewing and commenting on any deals which may be signed by Selangor in this issue,” Anwar said in a statement.

He said the PR presidential council had convened yesterday to hear Selangor mentri besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim’s explanation regarding the water deal.

“Following the meeting, the Presidential Council has on principle unanimously stated its support for Khalid’s effort to restructure Selangor’s water industry,” Anwar said.

Last week, Selangor and Putrajaya signed an agreement to reorganise water utility in the state, which could lead to the construction of the long-opposed Langat 2 water treatment facility.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the political rivals was signed by Khalid and Energy, Water and Green Technology Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili at a hastily-convened event in Putrajaya.

The Selangor state government has since said on Wednesday that it will draft another agreement with Putrajaya, one which will contain details on the newly-minted water asset deal.

Under the MoU, Selangor will take over the operations of four water concessionaires — Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Bhd (Syabas), Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd (PNSB), Konsortium Abbas Sdn Bhd and Syarikat Pengeluar Air Selangor Holdings Bhd (Splash) — and will place these under the state-owned Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Sdn Bhd.

The acquisition of the water supply infrastructure carries a price tag of RM9.65 billion. In exchange, Selangor agreed to approve the development order for the Langat 2 water treatment plant and ensure all necessary approvals would be given within 30 days from yesterday.

Water supply in Selangor has been a contentious issue since the state fell to Pakatan Rakyat in Election 2008, with the residents experiencing repeated supply outages that the state administration alleged were due to sabotage by the rival Barisan Nasional coalition.